Tools You Can Use: OS Management Tools
A look at tools shipped with AIX and System p platforms.
Note: This article is the first of a three-part series.
Do you know what's in your garage toolbox or kitchen-gadget drawer? Half of the art of being a good handyman or cook is knowing what tools you have and what tools you should use for which task.
AIX* and IBM* System p* platforms have many tools that can and should be used for certain tasks. Since so many of us have so many IT tasks to attend to, we can often only afford to spend a small slice of time on tasks that are better automated.
In this article, I'll explore some of the tools shipped with System p hardware and AIX. Many additional options - such as shareware, freeware and as-is tools - complement what ships with AIX and System p platforms. However, many customers aren't taking advantage of tools that are designed to make their jobs easier. Furthermore, the greatest benefit may come from using the tools synergistically - such as Network Installation Manager (NIM), Software Update Management Assistant (SUMA), alt_disk_install, compare_report and lppmgr.
Shareware, freeware and as-is tools represent a plethora of opportunities that deserve their own article, which I hope to explore later. IBM's nmon is one as-is tool that I routinely suggest for performance analysis and a wonderful 50 k-foot, 24-hour view of performance. The price is right for nmon and shareware/freeware (no additional expenditure), but testing and support have to be considered as part of the overall cost. This three-part article addresses OS tools, then firmware and performance, and finally some of the as-is and shareware/freeware tools and considerations.
Management of the System
System p AIX clients have two choices for systems-management interfaces: the System Management Interface Tool (SMIT) and Web-based System Manager. Although Web-based System Manager is the primary interface for system management, SMIT provides an alternative, natural-language, task-oriented interface. The SMIT facility runs in two interfaces: ASCII (nongraphical) or AIX windows (graphical).
SMIT steps you through a desired task with the use of menus, selectors and dialogs, freeing you from the details of complex command syntax, valid parameter values and system command spelling. Additionally, SMIT creates log files for historic reference and script files that you can use to duplicate system configuration. The "show command" (F6) describes how to use specific commands.
One of the biggest challenges administrators face is determining what fixes are available and applicable to their systems.
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